In our lives there are many moments that seem to define the paths we chose or even the ones we are already on. Perhaps each of us will go through 100s or more of these moments in our lifetime. They can be heartrendingly terrible or they can be the very epitome of beauty. I think among these grand myriads of moments there are really only several that truly impacted us in a way that was life altering.
In the first part of my tail I told you how I full out failed on my first attempt towards stardom. When I was almost 6 years old I started kindergarten. I had my first chance at hitting the stage in the schools talent show. I had chosen to do a lipsync. For my song I chose one of the greatest rock songs I'd ever heard in my childhood, Johnny B Goode by Mr. Chuck Berry.
I failed miserably during tryouts and I was not given a slot to perform for the big show. But in first grade at the chubby age of 7, I knew what I was facing and I was gonna be well prepared to reach my goal. I mostly listened to Berry, Jackson, King and whatever came across the nearest radio. I didn't have any large grouping of bands and songs to chose from and it didn't really matter cause I knew what song I was gonna do. I was gonna truly make up for last years terrible disappointment by doing the same song the right way.
I'm not sure what I needed to be able to get over my performance issues. I guess you could call it stage fright but I don't think that was entirely it. I wasn't afraid to do things in front of others. I had no problem with talking to strangers and I was known for wondering off and journeying towards whatever destination my imagination led me to.
In Kindergarten I was known as a story teller. I don't mean I was just a liar. Cause I was. But what I mean is i used to tell stories to whatever kids would gather round while we sat in the little rolling cubby spot we had for our shoes and lunch bags. I spent nearly my entirely life spinning tales. It wouldn't be for another few years that I started writing but that day would come soon enough.
I had night terrors and my parents didn't want me to have scary toys. It was kind of a moot point if you think about it. Cause I had he man and star wars toys. Both of which had skeletal and monstrous minions among them. Call em aliens or fantasy creatures it was still basically the same. But they didn't let me get a lot of the action figures I asked for cause they were "scary" . I loved to watch scary movies and hear scary tales but it didn't stop my imagination from flying wild while I slept.
My point about the toys is I used to create paper action figures. Call em paper dolls if you want but they were monsters and demons and they would have eaten ken and his cronies had their paths ever crossed. I used my imagination as a tool a lot. It fed my bordem. So telling stories came very easily. I was used to having small crowds and attention but I still wasn't able to overcome the hurdle of the stage.
Its kind of funny in retrospect cause one would think I could get on a stage rather easily if you'd seen little me in action. I was an outlandish child. I had in innate ability to push buttons, motivate, or instigate. As I said I was used to speaking in front of others. So I had a taste of public speaking. I was also not afraid to jump into play. We often played "house" during our play time and I was always the daddy. Made easier by already having some strange prepubescent understanding of hormones too. Cause I remember accidentally tripping over blocks to look up skirts and I didn't even know what was up there except that they had butts like we did.
For example I once got in trouble for convincing a girl to ask to go to the bathroom at the same time as me and then we got caught "kissin" in the hall. Neither of us knew what we were doing. Kids are dumb but aware. There are so many premade codes written into us.
But I didn't have a problem talking to strangers or playing with new kids or going strange places. I was retardedly fearless. But I also had a temper and roving attention span.
I got in trouble and spoke to the principal throughout my school career. Kindergarten was no different. I once got in trouble in for throwing blocks at my teachers head. I'm still sure she hated me like most of my teachers. I was spanked throughout elementary by those fuckers and one even smacked me across the face leaving a handprint that lasted till I got home. But my Kindergarten teacher specifically had the school bring my parents in for a special meeting in which they discussed how my parents should have me medicated and held back. Cause I simply "wasn't right".
And all these tidbits are just a taste of what that lil 6 yr old me was like. It doen'st even bring into account my homeward bound adventures. I always had emotional issues. Its easy to say in hindsight of course. But i would do anything to impress kids. I never felt very liked or loved. DON"T GET ME WRONG. I was and I am but we're talkin about head games not reality. I used to put bugs on ice cream cones and eat dirt if I was dared. Hell for many years I would do nearly anything if I was dared. I would fight and I would clime walls (literally, I got stuck up at the ceiling in the hallway once) and I even had my first knife pulled on me in kindergarten. It was an odd little town I grew up in and you will see that revealed more and more as my story continues.
But I think it goes to show that no matter how outgoing or wild or loud or social or crazy you are there is nothing that equates an ability to be on a stage. Many things may help and many things may prepare but until you are on that stage there is no equal. It doesn't matter if your 6 or 60. The only thing that makes it easier when you're a kid is that you're basically fearless. We learn fear throughout our adulthood and growing up. Most of the time for the best reasons. Be afraid of the woods at night, running your mouth, driving too fast, etc. But fear will always consume us one way or the other if we let it.
In 1st grade I was determined to slay the dragon fear. I was not going to look a fool again. I practiced my ass off and made some improvements to the sad performance from the previous year. I added the chuck berry signature hop. I knew the words front and back. I had an acoustic guitar and i was prepared to own the stage.
When the tryouts came I was ready. I tore that stage a new asshole! I hoped all over that bitch and spun and shimmied. And I fell in love. I already thought that this was what I wanted, but I will tell you it was fucking amazing. I killed it at tryouts and I made it into the show. The stage would become my first wife. The love that all love becomes equated to.
On the evening of the big show I did what I was supposed to do. I came dressed to impress and I slayed the stage. I had the whole place hootin and hollerin and it set the precedent for my entire life. I don't know if I placed in a number category or if they just said well done and that was that. But I do know that I didn't take 1st, 2nd, or 3rd. Every year that went to one of the kids who's parents were on the school board, or one of the judges, or had clout in town. I'm not saying the kids weren't good. They had talent and their parents had the money to help them pursue their talents but they weren't good enough or interesting enough to win every year.
But for me it didn't fuckin matter at all. In some ways the lessons and experiences I learned from that year had set the stage, so to speak, for my life to come. I saw that sometimes the deal is rigged. I saw that the haves tend to win over the have nots. I saw that hard work and determination really can win out even if its not how was expected.
I drove the crowd wild. That was truly all I needed. I may not have placed but that place made more noise for me than anyone else. I felt like gold. It solidified in me at such a young age that my thoughts were right. I was ment for this. I was built for this. I didn't need to win to feel like a winner. I knew that I did a great job. The crowd saw that too and they let me know. Nothing after that would ever be quite the same. Neither would I.
2nd grade saw my first music tour.
I'll tell you about it sometime.